Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Managing Classroom Behavior

Like all teachers we have our own little tricks of managing classroom behaviors. As many of you know, in the past year I changed schools to teach in an Urban setting, and I will be honest I was struggling at first to keep my spirited kiddos from deterring their own learning. So.......Last year I combined some different things to come up with a system that I felt like might work, and surprisingly it did. In fact it worked wonders.

Okay so here goes on my explanation. I have some of those paint dabbers that Kinder teachers use for art projects (bingo dabbers also work) and I just walk around the room and dot those suckers on note cards. That's it!! I keep it in my pocket or in a tool belt and I say things like, "You should be proud of how you shared that answer!" and then put a dot down on the card. ANYWHERE on the card. If a student breaks a rule I just right down the number of the rule they broke over a dot.

Skeptical, yes I know; I was too when I came up with this hair brain scheme  Well I have to add that they use the dots to buy class coupons, but all of the coupons are things that are free to me. THEY LOVE IT!! They will do just about anything to not lose their dots. This system changed my class from chaos to another world within the school. 
I display them on the board those small paper strips are for prices, which can be changed due to supply or demand. On Fridays, I have one student who runs the dot store and students can trade in for dots (this is during our Fun-Friday Brain Break so it doesn't take up lesson time).  I store the coupons that are being bought in a binder using trading card storage pages. 

Finally, everyone that has started using this system at my school has experienced great results, but everyone always ask me how do you keep up with the cards with multiple blocks without taking class time to pass them out. What I am doing this year is I have a bin that contains each tables Science Notebooks (more on those later) and the dot cards are stored in the notebook in a library card so that they never leave the classroom. Viola!!

Well I hope that you find these tips helpful, and that you have a wonderful year with zero management issues. Talk to you all soon!
Sorry had to post this pick of me and one my co-workers after our PBL project planning meeting with the zoo today!! Oh how exciting (more to come)!! Stay tuned!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Teacher Crafting Before School Starts

It's a Friday night, and since I love making things I decided to get crafty. Teacher crafty really. I went to a Kagan Cooperate Learning Training (paid for by the district :) ) and they had these useful mats they used for grouping and to help with the structures, called Team Mats. Here is a link if you would like to buy them directly from Kagan and save time, also theirs are two sided for the Fan-n-Pick activity.


I didn't really care for the colors of the mats, and it didn't seem like something I need to purchase because I wanted to buy literally every book they had. So I decided to make my own cute versions to put on my tables.

First I gathered the supplies: Notecards, Markers, Paper Cuter (scissor will work), scrap book paper

 First cut the Notecards so they are square instead of rectangles

 Then simply write 1 - A, 2 - B, 3-A, 4- B
 Arrange the cards like so and tape.
 Cut out into a square.
 And Presto!! I plan to laminate tomorrow, but my lamination pouches are at school. You can see how by doing it like this you could make them match any room theme, and if for some reason you hate your handwriting you always type out the letters print and cut. Note: if you plan on setting them out I would reinforce with poster board before laminating because they will be too flimsy otherwise. I tape mine to the center of my tables to they can't be moved.

In the mist of my creative Kagan haze, I also decided to make cards for my most used structures. I placed magnets on the back so I quickly add them to my daily agenda. I don't know if your schools require you to post an agenda, but mine does. I often find my self writing some of the same things. So I thought magnet cards would save on some time. Here they are below. They are just note cards on scrapbook paper that I will laminate.

 Well that's it for this evening. Hope everyone is having fun getting ready for school because Paul Stanley and I sure are. Isn't he the cutest helper ever!!

Talk to ya'll soon!